Sacramento County officials have informed Carl Simpson, who the civil service commission decided was wrongly fired last year amidst charges of mismanagement and sexual harassment, that he will be placed on paid administrative leave rather than return to his former executive-level job.
Simpson's lawyer, Jill Telfer, said her client wants to return to work and described the county's action as "retaliation" for his battle to regain his job and reputation.
"This county has major budget issues, and he could be such an asset," she said. "Why would they want him to just sit at home?"
But a county spokeswoman said the matter is complicated. In addition to his job action, Simpson has filed a civil lawsuit against the county asking for $1.5 million in damages for defamation and racial bias.
"It's a very complex issue," said county spokeswoman Chris Andis. "There are many employees and various legal options that have to be considered."
Simpson, 49, was fired in March 2011 while working as the county's chief code enforcement officer and interim animal shelter manager. The dismissal followed accusations of mismanagement by shelter employees that the commission last week ruled were unfounded. Earlier, Simpson successfully fought charges of sexual harassment by the same employees.
While on leave, Simpson will collect his $115,000 annual salary plus health benefits, according to a letter Simpson got this week from the county's human resources manager.
"As of Aug. 27, 2012, you have been placed on Administrative Leave until further notice," the letter reads.
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